Petersburg police becomes fully accredited for first time in department’s 210-year history

Police Chief retires after three years

Petersburg Police Chief announces retirement

PETERSBURG, Va. (WWBT) - For the first time in the department’s 210-year history, Petersburg police will be fully accredited through the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission (VLEPSC). Police Chief Kenneth Miller also announced his retirement.

“This is truly a historical and monumental time for our City,” said Petersburg Police Chief and Public Safety Managing Director, Kenneth Miller. “This was made possible by the commitment from our entire team and the support from our community. This is a big day for Petersburg.”

To become accredited, the process usually takes three years total, and the standards board requires that law enforcement agencies comply with 190 standards - which cover operations, administration and training in addition to other areas.

The accreditation increases an agency’s ability to prevent and control crime within the community, the VLEPSC says.

The accreditation also allows the department to apply for grant opportunities.

“The City Council is proud of our police department and the work they have put in toward earning this accreditation,” said Petersburg Mayor, Sam Parham. “This is certainly proof of the expert-level of service that we have seen and will continue to receive from our Petersburg police.”

Officials said the accreditation is the best measurement of an agency’s compliance with professional law enforcement standards.

Petersburg Police Chief Kenneth Miller also announced he will be retiring on Nov. 1, after serving three years in the department.

He said one of his biggest accomplishments was his commitment to education. He said over 1,000 illegal firearms were taken off the streets without incident.

“Not one complaint of excessive force, not one shot fired capturing those illegal firearms; that’s the beauty of what these men and women have done,” said Chief Miller.

Deputy Chief of Police Travis Christian will become the city’s new police chief.

“One of the commitments that this chief made was to groom a deputy chief so that we didn’t have to go through that process. So, yes, Mr. Christian will be appointed our new chief of police,” said Aretha Ferrell-Benavides, City Manager.

Deputy Chief Travis Christian has been groomed by Chief Miller for the past two years to take over.

“He’s going to be better than me. It’s why I know it. It’s why I selected him,” said Chief Miller.

“I’m delighted to be here, I’m delighted to serve this city, and I’m looking forward to working with the men and women,” said Deputy Chief Christian.

The deputy chief has had a 30-year career in law enforcement and has spent the last seven years in the City of Petersburg.

“What we’re looking forward is even more community engagement, which will always help us, in terms of solving crimes,” he said about the future plans.

Christian will take over once Miller retires on Nov. 1.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.